The jaws of traveling stoners and college backpackers dropped when the Dutch government announced in mid-2011 that coffee shop sales of marijuana to foreign residents would be prohibited as of January 1, 2013.
In an effort to promote health and fight street crime, the Dutch government determined only residents who registered for what amounted to a weed license could legally buy pot in the city’s 220 coffee shops. Members only!
Enter Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, who this week gave a Lee Corso-esque “not so fast, my friend” to that legislation.
Van der Laan told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant he subscribes to the law of unintended consequences: namely, the black market, soft drug monitoring and controlling access to minors.
“They will swarm all over the city looking for drugs,” van der Laan said. “This would lead to more robberies, quarrels about fake drugs and no control of the quality of drugs on the market. Everything we have worked toward would be lost to misery.” More from DutchNews:
The outgoing cabinet introduced its new wietpas system in the south of the country in May and had planned to extend it nationwide in January 2013. The new coalition is dropping the registration system but still wants to keep out tourists.
But excluding tourists from Amsterdam’s coffee shops will ‘undo all the good work that has been done’ and lead to a return to street dealing, Van der Laan told the paper.
At the same time, Van der Laan has promised justice minister Ivo Opstelten to take a tough line on coffee shops which cause a public nuisance and to reduce marijuana use by youngsters.
‘Sales to minors, too strong marijuana, no advertising or public nuisance – we are going to keep a close eye on it all,’ Van der Laan says.
The mayor also backs the new government’s plans to set a maximum limit to the amount of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana. ‘Health is paramount. I have seen the damage it can do,’ Van der Laan told the paper.
Breathe easy, vacationing smokers. You’re safe now. Godspeed.
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